Consultation Paper on Modernizing the Consumer Protection Act, 2002
Bill or Act:
Consumer Protection Act, 2002
Summary of Proposal:
The Ontario government is considering how to improve the Consumer Protection Act (CPA/the Act). The CPA is the primary piece of legislation that sets out rules for consumer protection in Ontario. It governs most personal and household transactions by consumers, including buying furniture in a store, shopping for clothes online, buying goods sold door-to-door, and renovating homes. The CPA's rules support a fair and competitive marketplace where consumers make their own choices without being subject to unfair business practices.
In 2019, the Government of Ontario announced the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Strategy, which included the first comprehensive review of the CPA in 15 years. The Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (the ministry) is continuing the CPA review process and examining how to update the Act to strengthen protection for consumers, adapt to changing technology and marketplace innovations, and streamline and clarify requirements to improve consumer and business understanding and compliance. Updating the CPA will enhance consumer protection and reduce burden for the retail community in general, while addressing specific problems more effectively than the current law.
This Consultation Paper contains many of the proposals included in the 2020 consultation paper. The paper also includes proposals that have been updated to reflect feedback from respondents to the previous consultation, as well as some new proposals.
The paper expands on previous consultation proposals and addresses:
o Broad consumer protection and empowerment, including consolidated contract disclosure rules, protections and remedies against unfair practices, stronger consumer rights, and opportunities to make it easier for consumers to unsubscribe or exit a contract;
o Sector-specific protections, including exit options for timeshare owners, stronger protections for consumers in long-term leases, and improved rules to address issues relating to the use of Notices of Security Interest by some businesses.
In addition to the proposals in this paper, changes to the CPA would include streamlining the structure of the Act and regulations to make it easier for consumers and businesses to understand their rights, responsibilities, and obligations.
We welcome your responses to the questions in this paper and any additional comments or suggestions on the modernization of the CPA. Please provide examples or evidence to support your suggestions, where possible.
You may download this paper and submit your completed responses by March 17, 2023. You can submit comments by email to email@example.com or by mail to the address provided.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposals in this consultation paper are under consideration for a new Act. If the ministry receives approval to proceed with the proposals, the following are anticipated impacts:
• The new CPA would protect consumers with clearer requirements to enable improved compliance by business and strengthen enforcement, providing greater confidence for consumers.
• Most businesses providing goods and services directly to consumers would be impacted by a new Act. Rules that apply to the maximum number of businesses are general rules related to the prohibited use of unfair practices, for which there are no costs to comply.
• In some cases, proposals would reduce burden for businesses and support competition by supporting a level playing field with consistent rules, targeting bad actors, and avoiding unnecessary regulatory burden for good actors.
• Some changes could result in short-term costs for some businesses; however, these changes are important for the longer-term benefit of modernizing the act and better protecting consumers. Businesses would be consulted on the specifics of regulations and on the appropriate amount of time required to bring their operations into compliance.
• To implement legislative proposals, regulations would need to be developed. The ministry would provide baseline and projected costs during the regulatory development phase and consultation, as it is at that stage that the precise nature of the requirements would be known.
• The new statute would better align with the evolving marketplace and is intended to bolster consumer confidence and support economic growth.
February 6, 2023
Comments Due Date:
March 17, 2023
Consumer Protection Act Review
Manager, Consumer Policy Unit
Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
56 Wellesley Street West - 6th Floor
Toronto, ON, M7A 1C1